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Golden might not be Miami's answer, but risk worth taking


At some point someone at Miami had to utter the words: Hey, let's take a look at the Temple coach.

It's a bizarro world out there right now. Gus Malzahn is trying to decide whether it's worth risking his career to hit the jackpot at Vanderbilt, a school that never cared about football. Florida just hired Texas' coach-in-waiting who only had to wait, well, indefinitely to have the Longhorns job. Suddenly, they're doing the Muschomp in Gainesville.

Hey, if Rich Rod can channel Josh Groban, the outrageous is truly acceptable these days. Miami has hired that Temple coach who comes from a school previously so irrelevant that it got kicked out of the Big East. Do you know how bad you have to be to get kicked out of the Big East? Well, Temple isn't terrible anymore, which helped qualify Al Golden for the Miami job. Just never thought it would come to that.

That's not to disparage Golden who is a solid hire at Miami, but that's the point: The Temple coach is a solid hire at Miami. He's not a blow-your-socks off hire. He's not a rock star hire. Solid. The thing is, Miami just had solid. Randy Shannon was a loyal 'Cane who recruited well, ran a tight ship and probably deserved another year. Golden is an outsider who recruits well and runs a tight ship. Maybe he's solider than Shannon.

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The tie certainly looks solid, although most of the time it seems that Golden prefers stripes.

The hire was AD Kirby Hocutt's first big one at Miami. For a while, it got public and sloppy leading to the valid perception that Golden wasn't his first choice. Hocutt couldn't pry Dan Mullen loose from Mississippi State. Golden ended up beating out a CFL coach with an NFL background (Marc Trestman) to get the job. He beat out a guy he already beat this season (UConn's Randy Edsall). I'd say he beat out Jon Gruden but I'm still not sure what that was all about in the first place.

Most telling, he beat 44 percent of the teams he played at Temple. That's troubling in the real world when you're hiring a new coach. In the bizarro world, that makes Golden championship caliber. Temple hadn't gone to a bowl since 1979 until he arrived. The Owls now have won 17 of their past 22 games. That's not a turnaround, that's a miracle. Golden risked staying any longer. Miami just took a risk -- a well-reasoned, calculated gamble -- but still a risk.

Golden is what we are told is an up-and-comer having once worked for Joe Paterno. We'll see. In terms of recent MAC coaches who took BCS level jobs, is Golden a Brady Hoke (8-4 in his second year at San Diego State) or a Turner Gill (3-9 in his first season at Kansas)?

It should be pointed out that Miami is no starter job. First, Golden has to win the state before he can dream of championships. Florida recently lost its two-time championship coach, then replaced him in a tidy three days with a 39-year-old defensive whiz (Will Muschamp). Jimbo Fisher has won nine and played for the ACC title in his first season at Florida State. Miami just lost to South Florida at home.

That was definitely not solid. Neither is the so-called Miami Rule. The NCAA is instituting it next year. It is an indirect response to those vintage strutting, trash-talking, 'Canes of old. Points will be taken off the board if a ball carrier celebrates excessively on his way to a touchdown.

Between having lost their swagger and having it legislated out of existence, the Hurricanes can only hope they are about to enter a Golden era.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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